Last year, films surrounding the pandemic began swarming our streaming platforms and festival circuits, both informative and comedic – and it seems we are far from media consumption of its effects. The latest film to fizz to the top of your streaming platform suggestions is Netflix’s The Bubble. Directed by Judd Apatow, the film comes with muddled expectations, an intriguing premise based on a subject matter that already feels overdone. Despite its excessive runtime and generally meeting expectations, The Bubble delivers an entertaining venture that lends itself to an easy-breezy viewing experience.
With the pandemic shutting the world down, even Hollywood finds they are not immune. With the successful franchise of Cliff Beasts set to film its latest sequel, Cliff Beasts 6, the film’s producers, crew, and cast are preparing to seclude themselves for three months to maintain safety standards while filming. Yet, as they quickly discover, “the bubble” is more than they bargained for.
For Carol (Karen Gillan), Cliff Beasts 6 may be her redemption following a failed movie she was inappropriately cast for. Following a 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, as she is reminded constantly, she decides to return to the franchise that made her a name. Though it is not without its own drama, her refusal to return for Cliff Beasts 5 a looming potential for conflict. But as Carol, and the rest of the cast, is about to discover, her ill-fated return is the least of their worries.
As The Bubble introduces us to our characters, it leans into the drama, foreshadowing the outcome of many of the characters early in its first act, one that heightens the humor throughout, but also lends to its predictability. As each character begins to feel the weight of “the bubble” of isolation closing in, both from forces outside and within, Cliff Beasts 6 begins to take on a new shape of absurdity.
The Ups and Downs
To be honest, The Bubble is hilarious, especially in its first half. It leans into its examinations of Hollywood, actors, the pandemic and even the critical viewing audience. It is aware of all the moving parts affected by the pandemic and the drastic changes that affected the functioning of movie sets, yet is able to take a step back and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Yet where The Bubble struggles is in its second and third acts, the film running far too long, causing the humor to become fewer and farther between, lost within the increasingly insane set the characters find themselves in. This drawn-out runtime does create the sense of being trapped giving some relate-ability to the characters, yet it does little to keep the investment of the audience and the want for more.
The Bubble does boast a stellar cast, eclectic and entertaining. Leslie Mann delivers on the expectations of the audience, her Lauren Van Chance exactly what we need in an Apatow production. Joining Mann, and director Apatow, daughter Iris Apatow infuses the film with the hilarity and digital consumption of youth, her Krystal Kris a Tok Tok sensation, whose follows may be the deciding factor of the film’s success. The Bubble is truly a family affair.
The eclectic nature of the film truly culminates from the performances of Gillan, David Duchovny, Keegan-Michael Key, Gus Khan, Pedro Pascal, Fred Armisen, Kate McKinnon, and Maria Bakalova (who found out she was an Academy Award nominee while filming). While not an ensemble cast that will win awards come next year’s circuit, they are sure to win over your heart – and more importantly, your funny bone. They work well off one another, both in the isolation of “the bubble”, as well as in the chaos of the on-set calamity that is Cliff Beasts 6. Where the humor and pace of the film wavers, each of these actors gives it their all.
While the film does retain much of its humor overall and finds strength in its ensemble, The Bubble is not a film that will lend itself to multiple viewings. Its runtime is excessive, leaching much of the humor and overstretching its existence. Though don’t run to turn it off right away. It is entertaining, lending to an easy watch that will reward its viewers with a brilliant end credit display.
Have you see The Bubble? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!
The Bubble was released on Netflix on April 1, 2022!
Watch The Bubble
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